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Brecon reach out to their flock

Brecon RFC

Brecon coach Andy Powell and captain 'Ew-an' Williams introduce a flock of sheep to their ground in support of the NHS

Would ewe-believe it! Brecon rugby club may often have lamb on their menu, but now they’ve got sheep all over their pitch.

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Club chairman Paul Amphlett has found a novel way to tend to his flock, raise some money for the NHS and get back to work as a paramedic thanks to the green, green grass at Parc de Pugh.

The home ground of Brecon RFC, one of the founding members of the Welsh Rugby Union back in 1881, is now home to 73 sheep, allowing Amphlett to go back into service as a paramedic with the Welsh Ambulance Service.

The solution is benefitting all parties and Amphlett has even found a way to raise money for the NHS through his cunning plan.

“I didn’t want to let my training as a Paramedic go to waste in these difficult times and the club needed to find a way to make and save some money during lockdown,” said Amphlett.

“I said I’d pay rent if they let me graze my sheep on the pitch. This in turn allowed us to keep our 73-year-old groundsman safely tucked away and also saved us some money on fertiliser.

“Then I had the idea to try to raise some money for the NHS by inviting people to name one of the ewes for a £30 minimum sponsorship. So far we’ve raised more than £3,000 and 35 have been named.

“We’re going to give away two of the sheep at the end – one to the highest bidder and one in a raffle of everyone who has taken out sponsorship.

Amphlett, 57, retired from his role as a full time paramedic four years ago after a 30-year stint and has since been filling his time as a shepherd on the rolling hills of the Brecon Beacons, where he normally keeps his pedigree flock of Charollais sheep as well as commercial flock.

He goes to the club once a day to check on the sheep and a club volunteer is also there twice a day.

“They are penned in on the pitch, so they can’t just wander up into town. But they need to be looked after because if they roll onto their backs they often can’t get back up,” added Amphlett.

“It will be shearing time at the end of May, but there are plenty of shearers in the club to help out. Hopefully, by then we will be starting to come out of this crisis.”

One of the sheep has been bought by the drovers from the Ludlow market, where Amphlett’s son works as an auctioneer.

“One of the drovers lost his wife to coronavirus and so they’ve named the sheep in her memory. There are plenty of touching stories like that and many of the others are being named after local NHS heroes,” he added.

If you would like to sponsor one of the sheep, go to BreconRFC.co.uk for more details and to download a sponsor form. All monies raised will be donated directly to the NHS.

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